CR weathers strong Air Force challenge

By Dinesh Kulatunga

Caltex ‘A’ Division Club Rugby

Air Force second row forward Wasabha Senarath is held back by CR centre Niroshan Fernando with more support coming from his team-mate wing forward Danushka Perera (No.7) in a closely contested Caltex ‘A’ division first round game played at Longdon Place yesterday
(Pic Rukshan Abeywansha)

The favourites CR and FC was given a scare by a spirited Air Force outfit, before they downed the Airmen in a second half rally by 18 points to 13 in a closely contested Caltex ‘A’ division match played at Longdon Place yesterday. The winners collected their points from a solitary try, a penalty goal and two penalties to Air Force’s two tries and one penalty.

At the breather the Airmen took a stunning lead of 13-6.
Full credit must be given to the Airmen’s improved performance this season where their forwards and backline combined well to punch holes in their opponents’ defence.
Air Force could have continued the same attacking momentum as in the first half of the game when they gave no breathing space to CR and tested their opponents’ defence many a time. But in the second half of the game Air Force failed to build up the same pressure applied in the first half and allowed CR to regroup and strike, ultimately losing the contest.

It was CR who scored first when in the fourth minute of the game outside half Nigel Ratwatte kicked a 40-metre penalty correctly. Ratwatte then missed two penalties later on in the seventh and ninth minute of the game. Airmen equalised when centre Charith Seneviratne put over a 25-meter penalty. CR increased the lead in the twentieth minute of the game when Ratwatte kicked a 35-metre penalty correctly. Soon after, the Airmen struck from a raging maul when halfback Milinda Jayasinghe sliced through the CR defence to fall over. Seneviratne failed with the conversion. Minutes before half time Airmen struck again when skipper and wing forward Dinesh Weeraratne crashed through the CR defence from a maul to touch down. Seneviratne was unlucky with the conversion.

In the second half CR forwards, who were at the receiving end in the first half, combined well with their back line to take the game away from their opponents. Ably led by skipper Dushan Lewke and well supported by Bilal Hassan, Haren Ariyawardena, Ishan Noor, Zafer Jahn and Sharo Fernando, CR had the edge in the loose play and was quick to the breakdown points as their opponents simply lost their grasp on the game. In the fifty-seventh minute Air Force had a chance of further increasing the lead but Seneviratne’s kick lacked the direction. Then in the sixty-fourth minute of the game CR was offered a penalty try by the Referee as Ratwatte was obstructed from scoring by an Airman. Reza Mubarak converted and CR levelled the scores 13-all.And then the game was sealed by the CR in the seventy-first minute of the game when centre Lasintha de Costa scored from a neat backline move. Mubarak failed with the conversion but CR pulled off a hard fought win over a gallant Air Force outfit.
The match was controlled by Gamini Indrasena.


Kandy crushes CH

The defending champions Kandy Sports Club maintained their unbeaten record for the season when they scored a massive 55-7 win over a hapless CH side in a Caltex ‘A’ Division first round game played at Maitland Crescent yesterday. The winners collected their points from five goals and four tries to their opponents’ solitary goal. At the breather the hill capital club led 36-0.

For Kandy, prop Eranga Swarnathilake, centre Darshana Etipola, wing forward Sajith Saranga scored twice each and second row forward Shashika Jayawardena, winger Sanjeewa Jayasinghe and outside half Saliya Kumara scored a try each for the winners. Kumara kicked five conversions correctly. For CH centre Shane Dissanayake scored the solitary try which was converted by outside half, Omar Hassan.

The match was controlled by Irshad Cader. (DK)


Roddick in shock defeat at French Open

PARIS: Sixth seed Andy Roddick was stunned by an inspired performance from Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili, the world number 114, in the third round of the French Open on Saturday.
Gabashvili won 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, having never previously progressed beyond the second round of a Grand Slam, and will meet Spanish ninth seed David Ferrer or Austrian 22nd seed Juergen Melzer for a place in the quarterfinals.

Gabashvili’s compatriot Mikhail Youzhny, the 11th seed, will face French eighth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round after completing a 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3 win over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki held over from Friday.
World number three Novak Djokovic survived a second-set lapse before beating Romania’s Victor Hanescu 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and book his place in the fourth round. In a seesaw performance, the Serbian pumped his fists and smashed his racket onto the ground as he struggled to break Hanescu’s resilience on Centre Court.
Ninth seed David Ferrer fell to a surprise 6-4, 6-0, 7-6 defeat by Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in the third round. The Spaniard, a finalist in Rome earlier in the claycourt season, never got to grips with the Austrian’s pace from the back of the court and was two sets down in barely an hour.

In the women’s section top seed Serena Williams survived a worrying mid-match health scare to defeat Russia’s 29th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 and reach the last 16. The American world number one, who was the 2002 champion here, required treatment courtside after slipping at 0-5 down in the second set, having cruised through the opener.


Bulls beat Stormers and win last Super 14

The Bulls won the last ever Super 14 by beating the Stormers 25-17 in the 2010 Super14 final after leading 16-3 at half time at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, South Africa yesterday. The Stormers outscored the Bulls by two tries to one but Morne Steyn kicked six penalties and kept the Bulls in the lead throughout the match.

The Super 14 expands to a Super 15 in 2011 making this the last ever Super 14. The Super 14 tournament ran for five seasons and three seasons were won by the Bulls and the other two by the Crusaders from New Zealand. The Bulls won the Super 14 last year and were the defending champions.
The Bulls led 16-3 at half time after scoring the first points of the match with a penalty by Morne Steyn in the ninth minute. The Stormers looked to have scored the first try of the match when Schalk Burger reached forward and got the ball on the line in the eighteenth minute but he was judged to have played the ball on the ground and a penalty was awarded to the Bulls.

Six minutes later man of the match Francois Hougaard showed his pace darting through the Stormers defence and scored the Bulls only try of the match which gave the Bulls a comfortable lead. Aside from a brief spell 13 minutes into the second half after former Bulls star winger Bryan Habana scored a try for the Stormers the Bulls never looked like losing as they held a comfortable lead throughout thanks to Morne Steyn’s five penalties. Stormers captain Schalk Burger said that he felt like they were playing under two sets of breakdown rules and that they could not get any momentum.


SA in series-clinching win

ROSEAU (Dominica): Morne Morkel and Charl Langeveldt shared seven wickets to bowl South Africa to a 67-run victory over West Indies in the third one-day international on Friday.
Morkel captured an ODI career-best four wickets for 21 runs from seven overs, and Langeveldt took three for 30 from the same number of overs, as the South Africans successfully defended a victory target of 225 to win the match at Windsor Park with 72 balls to spare.

Morkel formalised the result, when Ravi Rampaul essayed an indescribable off-side stroke, and skied the ball to deep extra cover, where Johan Botha held a fine catch running backwards.
The victory gave the Proteas an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series, following a 66-run victory, under the Duckworth-Lewis Method, in the rain-marred opening match last Saturday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua, where they also won the second ODI by 17 runs last Monday.

South Africa 224 (47.2) (H Amla 34, G Smith 29, J Kallis 31, AB de Villiers 70, S Benn 2/43, D Bravo 2/40, K Polard 3/27)
West Indies 157 (38) (D Richards 28, S Chanderpaul 24, C Langveldt 3/30, M Morkel 4/21)


Akhtar for Asia Cup?

LAHORE: Notorious Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar might have been adjudged as a ‘spent force’ by his critics, but the ageing pacer may still get a place in the 15-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official has said.
According to the official, who refused to be named, the PCB is unsure about Shoaib’s match fitness, but it believes that he can bowl short spells in both one-day and T20 matches.
“Shoaib Akhtar is no more Test cricket material. But he could be utilised in patches. He deserved being given a chance after performing well in the Pentangular Cup in which he claimed 12 wickets to finish as the second-best bowler of the tournament,” The Dawn quoted the official, as saying. – [ANI]


Malik ban lifted

ISLAMABAD: Shoaib Malik’s one-year ban from international cricket is over after the Pakistan Cricket Board arbitrator on Saturday quashed his suspension.
PCB advocate Talib Rizvi said the cricket board had recommended to arbitrator Irfan Qadir to rescind the ban, and he also agreed to halve the fine on the former Pakistan captain to one million rupees ($11,750).
“We (PCB) had watched Malik’s attitude and conduct over the last three months and proposed that ban should be lifted,” Rizvi told reporters after the hearing.
The PCB initially imposed the suspension and fine for ill-discipline during Pakistan’s winless tour of Australia earlier this year. – [Agencies]


Hilton Tennis Gala

The Hilton Colombo Residence - Tennis Gala sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank is to be held from June 19 to 27 at the Sports Centre of Hilton Colombo Residence in Colombo. The event which is scheduled to take place under 7 different categories is expected to draw many tennis players both professional and amateur. A press conference was held at Hilton Colombo Residence last Monday (May 24) to announce the proceedings of the event which will last for 8 continuous days.
Entries for the competition will be accepted at the sports centre of Hilton Colombo Residence and the closing date will be June 15. The draw for the event is also scheduled to take place at the Sports Centre on June 17. The matches are scheduled from 2.30pm for the juniors and from 4.00pm for the seniors on weekdays, while on weekends the tournaments are scheduled to commence at 7.30am and continue throughout the day. The awards ceremony will take place on June 27, the final day of the series. Winners of each category will receive cash prizes.
Event categories: Men’s Open Singles, Women’s Open Singles, Men’s Doubles, Boys/Girls Under-16 Singles, Boys/Girls Under-14 Singles and Doubles, Boys/Girls Under-12 Singles and Doubles, Boys/Girls Under-10.